STEP BY STEP CREATE A PAINTING-STYLE WORK OF ART
Photoshop CC’S Smudge and Pattern Stamp tools enable you to turn photos into digital paintings
01 OIL PAINT
Before painting with the Smudge tool, our first edit is to apply the Oil Paint filter. This transforms our portrait to give it more of a brush-based feel. Duplicate the background layer with Cmd/ctrl+j, then go to Filter>stylize>oil Paint. Smooth out the original image into painterly strokes – we used Stylization 8.3, Cleanliness 2.6, Scale 7.2 and Bristle Detail 3.2. Experiment to see what works for you.
04 CHOOSE A SMUDGE BRUSH
Smudge enables you to blend colours by blurring them together as you drag. Coupled with a bristle brush, it can give us a painterly effect. Start by choosing a brush tip in the brush picker. We used Round Curve Low Bristle Percent. It helps to have a graphics tablet, because these bristle brushes respond to the tilt and pressure you can apply when using a pen, making your strokes more realistic.
02 SET UP THE TOOL
Make a new layer, then tick Sample All Layers in the Smudge tool options so we can paint on the empty layer while sampling and smudging the colours and details from below. The Strength control determines how far you can push pixels. Start with a strength around 50% (tap the 5 key for 50%, 6 for 60% and so on). Begin painting over the portrait in short strokes to smudge the details.
05 PAINT WITH SMUDGES
When painting, follow the lines and colours of the face. Shorter strokes with a smaller brush are better for areas of fine detail, while longer strokes and larger brush tips can be used in detail-less patches. Use the ] and [ keys to resize your brush tip, and experiment with bristle brush tips. Hold E to switch to the Eraser tool and paint to erase, then try again. Build up the painting effect using several layers.
03 FINGER PAINTING
The Finger Painting setting adds a blob of the current colour before smudging with the underlying colours. We’ve used it here to give our image a messy border, so it looks as though the edges remain unpainted. Choose a foreground colour (we used #d3c9be), tick Finger Painting and make a new layer, then drag in from the edges of the frame to make a messy border effect.
06 PATTERN STAMP PAINTING
Pattern Stamp complements our Smudge tool painting. Merge a copy of all layers with Cmd/ctrl+shift+alt+e, then go to Edit>define Pattern. Grab Pattern Stamp, choose a bristle brush tip and target the new pattern in the pattern drop-down. Check Impressionist and Sample All Layers, make a new layer and add extra strokes around the frame, then boost colours and contrast.